VMS-Washington – Facebook vs Twitter vs Google Plus for Small Businesses

Posted: 14 February, 2012 in Social Media
Tags: , , , , , ,

What works for one business might not work for another, and Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter each have their pros and cons. As a result, many businesses create pages on all three sites, thinking that “more is better”. However, I don’t think that’s always advisable, especially for small businesses. This is primarily because many businesses tend to create and then abandon their social media profiles. Google Local finds information about local businesses based on their social networking information.

This means that if you have an abandoned social media profile, or one that has conflicting information with another profile, then you could show up local on Google Local business searches. This will hurt many local businesses a lot more than failing to reach out to the few people who are still on Google Plus or MySpace but not on Facebook. It’s fine to have multiple profiles if you maintain all, but remember that each social media site is different so content that works for one might not work for others. Social media is great for connecting with users, but it’s not really a broadcast medium. I’m reviewing Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter from a small business perspective so that you can figure out which one to use your business.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media site and Facebook users are easy to target with ads. Small businesses can make pages for free and They can also have ads which are very easy to target. For example, your business can make an ad aimed only at people who “Like” a certain page. There are pages for companies, interests, and even individual movies and sports teams. Furthermore, ads can be tailored based on people’s browsing history, since Facebook uses cookies to track websites that people go to while they’re logged onto Facebook. These features are standard on most social networks but Facebook’s main draw is that everybody’s already using it, so they don’t have to go through an extra step of setting up an account to see your ads or be exposed to your company’s page.

Google Plus

Google Plus is similar to Facebook, but unfortunately it’s held back by low usership. Plus, Google’s tied it into other Google services, such as Gmail and Google Search, which prevents it from presenting a Google Plus brand to potential new users so it’s unlikely to ever become widespread among ordinary people. On top of that, Google Plus may violate anti-trust laws because Google yesterday announced that it will include things that people “+1” (Google’s version of Facebook’s “Like” feature) in their Google search results. If Google loses an anti-trust lawsuit over this tie-in, it might be forced to remove other tie-ins that are beneficial to small businesses, such as using people’s Google searches to tailor ads toward them in Google Plus.

Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging broadcast service, whereby users subscribe to other users and can send and receive blog posts of up to 140 characters long. This means it’s a great outlet for giving quick updates. However, it’s limited by the 140 character limit and there’s a large overlap with Facebook, since tweets are very similar toward Status Updates in that both are broadcast and seen by people who like your company’s page or are subscribed to your company’s Twitter account. The short post length makes it hard to reach out to subscribers with useful content, so many subscribers could become “blind” to your company’s Twitter account because they’ll see your Tweets as spam.

It is, however, a completely different type of social network than Facebook and Google Plus, and it has some advantages. People can talk about the same subject by using metatags and see what everybody else who’s using these metatags is saying (Facebook has a similar feature but it’s not ubiquitous yet). This means that you can use Twitter to create buzz about a product launch or whatnot, and then control the dialogue and reach out to many highly targeted users at minimal cost.

Thank you for supporting Social Media,

Valued Merchant Services

Suggestions and comments are greatly welcome!  If you have a business and want our company to promote your business contact us at: washington@valuedmerchants.com

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